Twitter Ends Russian State Media Advertisements, Citing 2016 Interference Efforts

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Twitter is banning two of Russia's biggest media outlets from buying advertising amid fears they attempted to interfere with the 2016 United States election, APA reports quoting BBC.

The ad restriction applies only to RT, an English-language TV broadcaster that receives financial support from the Russian government, and Sputnik, a news agency and online news outlet.

Twitter declined to comment on any discussions with advertisers. Political ads will be required to identify their campaigns and will be indicated on Twitter with a different look and feel, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Twitter and Russia Today negotiated a media strategy that, according to the post, could have included giving the outlet early access to Twitter features, a "customized emoji-hashtag that would help RT stand out with special election coverage" and access to a "dedicated team of Twitter experts".

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The article also quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying his government would react to us restrictions on Russian media "swiftly and symmetrically".

Sputnik and Russia Today, also known as RT, won't lose their ability to post to Twitter - meaning they can continue using the service to circulate articles, videos and opinion pieces.

Responding to the latest announcement, RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan called Twitter's move "highly regrettable" and said it could lead to retaliatory measures towards USA media. RT said that it even published a marketing proposal Twitter had sent the company a year ago in which it tried to sell RT on its services, including Twitter's ability to help RT "deliver an unbiased point of view of the USA elections with an edge".

Twitter's general counsel along with representatives from Facebook and Google will testify on November 1 to the House Senate Intelligence Committee during a hearing about the use of social media to sway the 2016 election.

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Twitter and other Silicon Valley companies are facing government scrutiny over the role they played in allowing Russian disinformation to spread on their platforms during the election. Those funds date back to 2011, which is when RT started globally advertising on Twitter.

RT immediately hit back, saying Twitter had "pushed RT to spend big on the 2016 United States election" and criticizing the company for making its investment numbers public.

"This is the result of pressure from the American establishment and intelligence services". Gidari is now privacy director at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.

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